Vote to rescind touch screen purchase

From: charlie strauss <cems_at_earthlink_dot_net>
Date: Thu Nov 20 2003 - 11:14:33 CST

Hi all, I hope you dont mind a newsworthy if mildly off-topic post.
Last night I led an effort by citizens in my county to overturn the
county's plan to purchase Sequoia Touch screen voting machines! vote
passed 7-0 plus they passed a motion to send a letter to the secretary
of state to as that the state of New Mexico to reconsider.

We're a pip-squeak county but scientific credibility (highest per
capita PhD in world, he said humbly), so maybe its worth letting you
know this since it could be a selling point in your own communities.

In some ways it is a good thing that the county first voted for
purchasing the machines based upon the information they had at the
time, then voted to rescind the order after new information was
credibly presented to them. This makes a good argument to approach
other election officials in a way that does not ask them to admit an
error but just says that information is now coming to light and
reasonable people would not fault you for reconsidering your previous

Three facts seemed to resonate the most with the council. 1) that the
HAV act, contrary to widespread belief, does not require compliance by
jan 2004--the real date is 2006 for any U.S. state that either is not
receiving federal funds or has applied for a wavier 2) That problems
are not "a thing of the past" but are on-going 3) that much better
machines (voter verifiable, and with improved source disclosure and
review) will be available within a year. The unified message was there
is no need to rush.

However, I must say something that will upset a few people. This
county is not out of the woods yet; we still have to convince the
county election clerk's office not to deploy the free systems she
already has been given--the council is a different elected body and
while they can deny funds they cannot prevent deployment of free
systems. And this is going to be a hard sell because she and her
colleagues read the Black Box voting web site and came away with the
idea that all of these problems are just some fiction made up by a
bunch of wild-eyed, republican-hating, conspiracy theorists. And
frankly I dont blame her. While Bev harris has done wonders at
collecting data, drawing connections, and motivating a huge ground
swell of people against this, she has simultaneously galvanized and
polarized the largely conservative, elected officials against
listening further. This a serious issue that this movement needs to
address. We need more Bevs --she's almost singlehandley got this on
the map-- but we also need a parallel effort that is deliberately
disassociated with to increase the sobriety of the
case against voting.

here is the news blurb on the vote to rescind. the important part is
that they also move to ask the SOS to reconsider

a letter to the editor in the same paper.

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Received on Sun Nov 30 23:17:04 2003

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